Weekly Overview: Human Rights Situation in Mon State, Karen State and Tanintharyi Region

January 29, 2024

HURFOM, Fourth Week of January 2024

As the first week of the year comes to an end, the Human Rights Foundation of Monland (HURFOM) continues to observe an increase in the atrocities being perpetrated by the military junta across Southeastern Burma. Civilians have been attempting to return to their daily lives as much as the current circumstances permit. Still, it has been incredibly challenging, given the rising presence of soldiers in local villages. In recent months, particularly towards the second half of 2023, the Burma Army lost many military bases. In retaliation, the junta has been punishing local people with their usual tactics of isolation, fear and intimidation.

In Mon State, for example, the junta forces fired artillery mortar shells into Kan Ni village in the area under the control of the New Mon State Party, Ye Township. The Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) No.59, based in Kyaung Ywar village, opened fire with artillery shells, and the explosion hit a betel nut farm near Kan Ni village. No one was hurt, but hundreds of betel nut trees were damaged.

Although no civilians were fleeing, the local people were in fear and frightened because of the shelling that exploded near the village, which made them feel that conflict was imminent. In November 2023, the Ye Township-based junta No. 317 Artillery launched artillery shells for two consecutive days. They exploded in a rubber farm near Wae Paung, Kyone Lone, Kaing Taw, Baw Do, and Nat Taung villages.

The NMSP, a signatory to the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement, attended the political dialogue held by the regiment at least six times after the military coup. However, they have since ended their political negotiations with the junta.

Arbitrary arrests and the specific targeting of those allegedly supporting the opposition movement are also on the rise. On January 16th, a military junta raided a house and arrested a man at night. The victim was the husband of teacher Toe Myint, who is around 60 years old. The junta detained him after accusing him of financing the PDFs, according to a resident of Aung Zay Ya ward.

He has been detained in the Wae Ka Li military camp and is being interrogated. On November 30, 2023, after the junta arrested U Mya Than, a member of the PDF, they continued to capture at least 100 local people with alleged ties to the armed opposition groups. Out of the arrested residents, over two dozen wealthy people in Thanbyuzayat town had to pay a ransom to be released after a day, according to people close to the victims.

Among the arrested, more than 20 residents, including Deputy Chief U Aung Ko Ko of the General Administration Department of Thanbyuzayat Township, were sentenced to life imprisonment under Section 50(j) and 52(a) of the Anti-Terrorism Act. After the cases were opened, they were transferred to the Central Prison of Kyaikmayaw. Those who were arrested, U Mya Than and Ko Min Min, members of the PDF of Thanbyuzayat Township, were beaten and tortured to death during interrogation.

In addition, among the terror campaigns, at least 50 houses were burned down in Kaw Ka Rait, Karen State, where the fighting between the two sides is fierce. On January 21st, houses on Yadana Road, Ward No. 5, were torched down after a clash between the regiment and the Karen National Liberation Army in Kaw Ka Rait.

With the third year of the failed coup approaching, the international community must choose to stand on the right side of Burma’s pro-democracy movement. Key stakeholders and policymakers have an obligation to listen to and engage in meaningful dialogue to take coordinated action to ensure the junta is held accountable.


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